After seven decades of dedication to seed potato farming in Montana, the Fleming brothers, Pat and Neal, are marking the end of an era, as Kristi Niemeyer reports for Lake County Leader.
Standing proudly in front of their final crop of seed potatoes near Pablo MT, the brothers reflect on their journey that began with their parents, Jim and Billie, who established a thriving farm in the Mission Valley in the 1940s. The duo, who have been business partners for nearly half a century, have decided to retire from the intricate process of cultivating seed potatoes.
However, they assure that their farming days aren’t entirely over, with Neal stating, “We’re still going to farm. Just not spuds.” The Fleming legacy began with Jim Fleming in the 1950s and saw its fair share of challenges, from the threat of frost to the ever-evolving agricultural landscape. Over the years, the brothers expanded their operations, faced challenges head-on, and built strong relationships with clients.
Their dedication to the craft and their passion for farming have left an indelible mark on the agricultural community. As they prepare for their final shipment to Washington next spring, the brothers look forward to a slower pace, cherishing the memories and milestones achieved.
Neal, affirming their decision to retire says, “Everybody asks us, ‘are you really gonna quit?’ Yes, we are,” says Neal. “Nobody believes us, but we’re going to…”
Source: Lake County Leader. Read the full story here
Photo: Neal and Pat Fleming stand in front of a mountain of seed potatoes – their final harvest after 70 years as a family business. Credit and courtesy Kristi Niemeyer/Lake County Leader